The current methodology
The project described in the case study is still at the early stage of development. Nevertheless, certain steps have already been made and thus certain directions taken by the management are visible. First, the emphasis is made on the risk assessment and mitigation: the audit firm was tasked to analyze possible risks and provide a recommendation for the focus of change process (Pravin & Aruna, 2012).
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This correlates with one of the central principles of the critical chain project management (CCPM) methodology, which utilizes the theory of constraints. The theory suggests that for the successful implementation of the project the limiting factors must be recognized early in the process (Cox & Schleier, 2010). As the previous unsuccessful experience of MedDev clearly defines the poor resource distribution a limiting factor, the audit is aimed at identifying the constraints.
The change readiness assessment Tom requested from Anita also falls within this category. It is possible that on the later stages other elements emerge which will suggest another methodology as chosen by the project leaders, but currently, the critical chain project management is consistent with the actions of the management.
Although the chosen methodology has its advantages, such as reducing unpredicted variations, removing bottlenecks by targeting constraints, and eliminating waste (Hut, 2008), it is not the best possible approach to the upcoming project. This becomes obvious once we review the unsuccessful attempt to facilitate change in the past. While it is tempting to suggest that the failure, which was explained by the shortage of time and resources, was the result of poor planning, we can safely disregard such implication.
Any methodology, including the traditional one, has the planning and monitoring stage, so the probability of such implication is low. On the other hand, the diversity and the rate of the company’s expansion were likely unaccounted for. MedDev has exhibited rapid growth through acquisitions and did not keep the pace with technical innovations. Thus, the best strategy for the planned change is the extreme project management (XPM).
The suggested methodology
This methodology is superior to CCPM for two reasons. First, it is suitable for the diverse and disparate nature of the current state of the company. XPM allows flexibility and reduces the number of steps required for the decisions and actions. For a multifaceted company like MedDev, this may be a critical strong point, as the time constraints of a large business entity are among the chief limitations to change (Sushil, 2013). Second, XPM specifically focuses on the human resource management. The managers of MedDev already exhibit concerns regarding the success of the project, mainly because of the previous bitter experience (Pravin & Aruna, 2012). While any methodology includes resistance to change as a part of its practices, XPM specifically emphasizes it to maximize the result (DeCarlo, 2010).
Admittedly, the suggested approach has its several weaknesses. The one that is worth mentioning is the suitability of the XPM to the size of the company. While the diversity and disparity are the reasons XPM was chosen in the first place, they admittedly present some challenge. XPM manages the process on the go, which is relatively easy for small companies but becomes gradually harder as the number of people and factors involved go up (Wysocki, 2013).
It can be dealt with, but requires significant effort from the change management team. Second, XPM is open-ended and best suited for the uncertain projects (Lientz, 2012), while the one undertaken by MedDev has a clear goal of updating the IT systems. While not a weakness per se, it can be challenging for the steering committee to accept, as a high-level plan was already mentioned as desirable. Thus, despite minor inconsistencies, the XPM is still a superior methodology for the project in question.
Cox, J. & Schleier, J. (2010). Theory of constraints handbook. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill Professional.
DeCarlo, D. (2010). Extreme project management: using leadership, principles, and tools to deliver value in the face of volatility. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Hut, P. (2008). Advantages of the critical chain project management (CCPM). Web.
Lientz, B. (2012). Project management: a problem-based approach. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Pravin, A. M., & Aruna, F. R. (2012). Resistance to change. Assessing readiness for the implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system at MedDev, Inc. In D. L. Anderson (ed.), Cases and exercises in organization development and change (pp. 118-123). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Sushil, E. (2013). The flexible enterprise. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.
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Wysocki, R. (2013). Effective project management: traditional, agile, extreme. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.